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Edmund Ruffin, C. S. A. Who fired the first shot against Fort Sumter.

General Robert Anderson, U. S. A. In command at Fort Sumter.



ABRAHAM LINCOLN was inaugurated president of the United States on March 4, 1861. He delivered his famous inaugural address in the presence of an immense assemblage of people. The telegraph flashed it over the country, and the next day it was read by nearly every citizen in the United States. No other address ever engaged the anxious attention of such a vast audience.

President Lincoln began with the subject of slavery, making the distinct pledge that he would not interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it existed. This portion of the address has been quoted above. He next gave attention to the Constitutional provision with reference to fugitive slaves and favored its enforcement. He then took up the secession of the States and announced two general principles:

First, "I hold that in contemplation of universal law and of the Constitution the union of these States is perpetual."

Secondly, "If the United States be not a government proper, but an association of States by contract merely, can it, as a contract, be peaceably unmade by less than all the parties who made it? One party to a contract may violate it-break it so to speak-but does it not require all to lawfully rescind it?"

He then enters upon an argument to prove that these views are confirmed by history as follows:

"Descending from these general principles, we find the proposition that in legal contemplation the Union is perpetual confirmed by the history of the Union itself. The Union is much older than the Constitution. It was formed, in fact, by the Articles of Association in 1774. It was matured and continued by the Declaration of Independence in 1776. It was further matured, and the faith of all the thirteen then States expressly plighted and engaged that it should be perpetual by the Articles of Confederation in 1778. And, finally, in 1787, one of the declared objects for ordaining and declaring the Constitution was 'to form a more perfect Union.'

"But if destruction of the Union by one or by part only of the States be lawfully possible, the Union is less perfect than before the Constitution, having lost the vital element of perpetuity.

"It follows from these views that no State upon its own mere motion can legally get out of the Union; that resolves and ordinances to that effect are legally void, and that acts of violence within any State or States against the authority of the United States are insurrectionary or revolutionary, according to circumstances.

"I therefore consider that in view of the Constitution and the laws the Union is unbroken, and to the extent of my ability I shall take care, as the Constitution itself expressly enjoins upon me, that the laws of the Union be faithfully executed in all the States. Doing this I deem to be only a simple duty on my part, and I shall perform it unless my rightful masters, the American people, shall withhold the requisite means, or shall in some authoritative manner direct the contrary. I trust this will not be regarded as a menace, but only as the declared purpose of the Union that it will constitutionally defend and maintain itself.

"In doing this, there need be no bloodshed or violence, and there shall be none unless it be forced upon the national authority. The power confided to me will be used to hold,

occupy, and possess the property and places belonging to the government, and to collect the duties and imposts; but beyond what may be necessary for these objects, there will be no invasion, no using of force among the people anywhere."

The above extracts are sufficient to recall to mind the opinions and purposes announced by the President of the United States in entering upon office. It is unnecessary to quote in full this well-known address. The remainder is an elucidation of the matters above quoted and a fervent appeal to the love of the Union which the speaker well knew was strong in the heart of every true American. A portion of the peroration, however, is given below, being the only words addressed especially to the seceded States as a parting salutation, although the author had said in the first part of his address with regard to those "who seek to destroy the Union"-"I need address no word to them."

"In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without yourselves being the aggressors. You have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the government, while I have the most solemn one to 'preserve, protect, and defend it.'

"I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bond of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."

This address was an appeal to the Northern States and to those Southern States which had not yet seceded. It was a serving of notice on the "Confederate States." It was very differently received by the different sections. The North was electrified by it and Northern sentiment was unified. The reference to the perpetuity of the Union, incorrect as

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